Culture May Impact How You Search and Remember Websites

How Culture Impacts Perception

Map of the world with yellow pins over the US, Canada, and Western Europe, which are labelled as “Westerners” and red pins over Korea, Japan, China, Hong Kong, and Singapore, which are labelled as “East Asians.” Westerners are known to focus on foreground, whereas East Asians are known to focus on context and background.
Cross-cultural research as shown differences in how Westerners and East Asians pay attention to different elements — both online and in real life.
Scene of a fish tank, including three large fish, a green “water” background, a sandy floor, and some small fish, as well as dark colored seaweed, a frog, and snail (which are small and not as easily spotted to my Western eyes).
Scene used in Nisbett and Masuda (2003) “Culture and Point of View
  • Their country of origin (the U.S. or Japan)
  • Where the information was on the website (foreground or background)
  • How complex the website was (density of text and images on the site)

How Culture Impacts Search Efficiency and Information Recall

Website screenshots of low, medium, and high complexity. Low complexity is Duolingo’s site, which features a blue background, a header, an image of a globe, and button to get started. Medium complexity is Ryman, an online furniture store. It has a white background with red and grey elements, multiple header navigations, a lefthand navigation, and four photos of types of furnitures. High complexity is armor games, and online game platform with many colors and columns of icons and text content.
Three example websites used in the study, at low, medium, and high complexity. Red frames outline the main content area that was defined to constitute the foreground of a page.

Why were our hypotheses disconfirmed?

Differences in Attention Styles

Differences Inherent to Websites and 3D Visual Scenes

Differences in Reading Speed in Different Scripts

The Big Takeaway

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